Whalers CC vs Prince’s Head CC; King’s House Sports Ground: 19th August
A fine team effort saw the Whalers breeze their way to a well deserved victory against the visiting Prince’s Head team. A 35 over-a-side contest of 9 vs 9 to round off the August fixtures, in the end the game was won at a confident stroll which somewhat belied any simmering concerns the uncertain start to batting had aroused.
Indeed, even before a ball had been bowled some uncertainty was felt in the Whaler ranks on account of some ‘laidback’ timekeeping. Russell rolling up a couple of minutes after the game had been due to begin was cast instantly into a distant memory by the news that Tariq was at that moment…somewhere in London. Evidently some error on the communications front had led to no one actually telling Tariq when and where the game was. Most of the team came to the conclusion that this was probably the fault of the absent Channa, though this match reporter has not had time to test the veracity of this claim at the time of going to press. No matter, as Whalers batted first and Tariq could join the line up whenever he arrived. Each side agreed to lend a man to the opposition so that there were 10 in the field.
Pip and Dan opened the batting and soon found that the brisk cross-wind surging across the King’s House ground could turn the honest medium paced deliveries of Prince’s Head into virtually unplayable swingers. Dan’s early demise brought Luke to the crease, who would find himself operating as the rock at the centre of the Whalers innings, albeit one that provided a chance or two to the opposition along the way. Pip skipped to 17 before a very full ball rearranged his stumps and saw him replaced by Mark. Mark startled the opposing side with an on-side drive so sweetly struck that the nearby geese did well to restrain themselves from applauding before promptly startling his own side by leaving a delivery that the wind took from a trajectory aimed somewhere near Barnes Bridge to an inch or two outside leg stump. 14 wides in the innings attested to the wind’s capacity to toy with judgement. Luke’s partners came and went at a jaunty pace until Jiff joined him for a nerve settling 5th wicket partnership of 59.
Jiff hit some hefty boundaries, including a couple of 6s, before departing for 35 and Luke followed a short while after for the high score of 44, having fallen as another victim to the prolific Whaler-catcher Josh, who was fielding for the opposition at the time. By this time Tariq had fought his way across town in traffic, parked up and padded up so that he had a minute or two spare before coming in as 8th man. A sprightly 26no saw him through to the end of the innings alongside Russell (8no) and assured a healthy total of 171.
The opposition started their reply after the break and Whalers found themselves battling to control their bowling line with that cross-wind. Dan and Matt opened the bowling, with the latter taking first blood. Jiff decided that was more than enough success for Matt and promptly removed him from the attack, though not before Pip had run out the Prince’s Head no3. Dan would continue his good run of bowling performances by completing 7 overs with 3 wickets for 19; while at the other end Russell bowled tightly and was duly rewarded with his first scalp for the Whalers, ending with 2 wickets for 19 from 7. Some amusement was had from Dan, Jiff and Mark charging toward a ball in the field only for the three of them to engage in some sort of spaghetti western-style stand off when they all converged at the same spot. Imagine a sort of The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, only one where no one wants to claim responsibility for a cricket ball and the film rights remain unclaimed.
Josh claimed the final wicket with his off-spin with 14 overs to spare, stranding the Prince’s Head opener on 24no. The second highest scorer was wides on 11 (did I mention there was a breeze?) and Whalers won by 106 runs.
Man of the Match: Luke (retained even after proving unable to recognise his own towel in the showers)
Muppet moment: The Convergence
Champagne moment: Russell’s first whalers wicket